How Makeup Artist Vlada Haggerty Is Fighting Image Theft Online

Vlada Haggerty is one of the most popular makeup artists on social media and the number-one lip artist in the world. She's currently posted up as Smashbox's "Lip Editor-in-Chief." The intricacy of her art is unparalleled, although imitated and sought after by many.

Vlada's designs have been taken from Instagram and used to sell clothes and makeup, which sounds great, because who doesn't want their art to be seen? The issue is that in many of these cases, her art is stolen; people and brands take her designs without her permission and use either exact likenesses or similar art to make money. Most of these cases involved her signature lip drip, which Vlada popularized.

Vlada has threatened to sue brands for using her unauthorized images. (A lawsuit with Kylie Cosmetics never materialized and appeared to be settled with a credit on Instagram. Vlada filed a lawsuit against Make Up For Ever and its parent company, LVMH, in January.) Now, she's created an Instagram account in hopes of exposing brands that steal intellectual property.

StopIPTheft was launched this week by Vlada. The community, as she calls it, was created to "support independent artists and expose intellectual property thieves." She's encouraging artists to start posting and commenting with the hashtag #StopIPTheft to share their own stories. Because of the accessibility of social media, many artists rarely discover that their work has been unfairly taken and used for other people's gain. It's important to recognize that just because a photo is posted online doesn't mean it's free to post without attribution. By not crediting the artist, it creates the false impression that the artist has agreed to work with or license their work to the brand.

Vlada told us that prior to makeup, she worked as administrative assistant at an international law firm. "It rubbed off on me a little," said Vlada. She used her own struggles with copyright infringement as inspiration to create the platform. "It's important to me to support the artist community and to spread awareness about intellectual property rights and copyright laws," said Vlada. "This account will hopefully become a safe place for artists to share their stories of intellectual property theft, to seek help and to advise."